AESC 8310 – Food Systems Sustainability, Security, and Resiliency

Food systems are defined as a set of activities ranging from production through to consumption. They are embedded within a complexity of social, economic, environmental, and political systems which makes the goal of resilient, sustainable and secure systems the ultimate wicked problem. This course will use a systems approach to understand the current state of food system, and address the present and future sustainability, security and resiliency of the food system.

Students will be introduced to the concept of the food system as a complex adaptive system and explore additional concepts of scale, resiliency, connectivity, and interaction of the various parts of the system. In addition, the course will explore the lenses and perspectives that different disciplines bring to solving problems and the importance of transdisciplinary approaches needed to solve these complex problems.

CRSS 4020S/6020S – Social Sustainability in Agricultural and Food Systems (CRSS 4020s/6020s)

What is social sustainability? Why should we care? How can we develop agricultural and food systems that are socially, as well as environmentally and economically, sustainable? How can we support ag/food systems that are healthy and equitable for producers and consumers? This course explores these questions through coursework and service-learning. We will spend time untangling the environmental, economic, political, and moral frameworks that impact the social sustainability of agri-food systems. Students will also learn skills in community-engaged research, qualitative data collection, and analysis. We will close the loop between the coursework and service-learning components through class discussion and reflective writing.

CRSS 4020s/6020s class poster


This course provides students developing qualitative (and mixed social science methods) research projects in the agricultural and environmental sciences with a foundation for understanding the value of qualitative research and the skills for designing and implementing a qualitative research project. Students will explore various approaches for data collection and analysis, workshop qualitative designs, and develop research proposals focused on their grad-level research projects. Students will also learn about ethics in human subjects research, complete IRB training, and contribute to a small scale class research project to experience data collection and analysis.